FIVE years ago today, Gabrysia Filarowski’s life was saved.
The youngster from Leeds, who was then a desperately ill baby with just months to live, underwent a heart transplant.
Now six, she looks like any other child and is full of life.
Her mum Angela said she and husband Andrew were delighted to reach the milestone and so thankful to have their daughter.
“She’s absolutely brilliant. She’s so well,” Angela said.
“Without it, she wouldn’t have survived too much longer. We were probably within weeks or a limited number of months.”
Gabrysia, from Horsforth, was given six months to live as a baby after she was born with major heart defects.
She underwent two bouts of open heart surgery, but then her parents were told only a transplant would save her life.
In May 2009 she was moved to the top of the UK transplant list as she was in such need.
On July 10, 2009, she underwent the lifesaving surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and afterwards she recovered well, though struggled with some complications.
But for the last few years she has been very healthy, competing in her school’s sports days and taking up dancing.
“We thought that after she’d had the heart transplant, she would probably lead a limited life, but she does everything any other child can do,” Angela added.
“Somehow when you have a reasonably normal life, it’s possible to forget how incredibly ill she was. Now you’ve got this beautiful pink girl to compare with, you can appreciate how grey she looked a lot of the time.”
Angela says she bursts with pride at her daughter’s achievements: “Last week we got her school report and I cried.
“Not only is she a pleasant and polite child who is doing well, but her attendance has been at 95 per cent. Most of those days have been for check-ups in Newcastle.
“Proud is not the word.”